"she started biting her mouth like it ought to have poisoned her, with all that red lead"

Red lipstick print
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeRed lipstick print - Credit: Tania Saiz
Though the main ingredients in lipstick are wax, oil, alcohol and pigment, the lack of regulation surrounding cosmetics at this time meant that dangerous substances also crept in. White lead, which was used in the manufacture of popular red shades, was amongst the most harmful of these as long-term exposure to lead can damage the gastrointestinal, neuromuscular and neurological systems.